LINCOLN PARK — A second person has been charged with ambushing a then-23-year-old culinary arts student in Lincoln Park and shooting him in the head.
An 18-year-old man was arrested Monday in suburban Maywood and charged in the May 2022 attack of Dakotah Earley, police said. The man faces three felony counts, including attempted murder, armed robbery and possession of a stolen vehicle, as well as a misdemeanor count of criminal trespass to a vehicle.
The man’s name has not been released.
Earley was walking in the 1300 block of West Webster Avenue when he was ambushed by a pair of robbers, one of whom shot him twice in his back and once in his head, prosecutors said. A neighbor who witnessed the attack rushed to Earley’s aid until paramedics arrived, likely saving his life.
Tyshon Brownlee, 19, was also charged with attempted murder in the shooting.
Earley was seriously wounded in the shooting, which left him on life support as he underwent more than a dozen surgeries, including having his left leg amputated below the knee, his family said.
Joy Dobbs, Earley’s mother, has shared updates on social media throughout his recovery. She said she had “mixed emotions” to hear the second man had been charged.
“We are happy that this individual has been removed from our streets and will be held accountable for his role in the shooting, but it is also very hard for us to relive that day again,” Dobbs said.
Earley has sued former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, former police Supt. David Brown and two unnamed police officers, claiming they missed multiple chances to stop the men accused in the ambush.
Larry Disparti, one of Earley’s lawyers, reiterated in a statement Tuesday that the police department’s “no-pursuit” policy played a significant role in the attack on Earley.
“We will continue to fight on the family’s behalf until justice is served,” Disparti said.
Cass Casper, another of Earley’s attorneys, previously said the crime was preventable. Attorneys reviewed dispatches that show police spotted Brownlee in a stolen BMW near Soldier Field about an hour before the shooting.
Brownlee sped away, and officers did not chase him, Casper said.
“If police continued their pursuit earlier, it could have prevented this entire chain of events,” Casper said. “All they had to do was tail the perpetrator and make him stop. But they didn’t.”
There were “numerous incidents” where police could have previously caught Brownlee, who was known to law enforcement for a “violent rampage” and robbery spree in the days prior to Earley’s shooting, Casper said.
Casper blamed a police directive issued in August 2020 “ingrained in the minds of rank-and-file officers not to chase under any circumstances.”
The changes to the department’s chase policy came after the City Council approved a $15 million settlement to the family of a 37-year-old mother of six who was killed in 2020 when an officer chasing a carjacking suspect slammed into her car in Lakeview. That officer had been ordered to stop the chase before the fatal crash occurred.
Now, officers must “consider the need for immediate apprehension of an eluding suspect and the requirement to protect the public from the danger created by eluding offenders.” Marked police cars chasing someone must have their lights and sirens activated.
Earley spoke publicly for the first time in February. He said he plans to stay in Chicago and is talking to his mom about going back to school.
Good music got him through the days he battled for his life, he said.
“I try not to think about what happened too much. There are times I think maybe I should have done that, or done this, but this could happen to anyone,” Earley said. “Push forward. It’s not your fault.”
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